Whoever introduced this Shorpy Photo site to this forum did a good thing. I have been enjoying it, and picked up on something today that I thought was interesting:
The attached Shorpy Photo shows a shop with numerous bench vises that utilize what I'm sure are Model T steering wheels. What I think is strange is that this photo is dated 1916, which means that Model T steering wheels had only existed for 7 years, so there couldn't have been that many Model T's in scrap yards yet, so where did this shop get all the steering wheels. (???) Or, maybe these steering wheels came from Fords earlier than the Model T. (???)
I don't know about the steering wheels, but, would would the noise be like with that tin roof!
I'd love to have one of those overhead power systems. Typically, all the machinery is powered by one electric motor. My favorite local example of that is the old Oxford flour mill, where all four stories of machinery were run with belts and pulleys from one big motor in the cellar.
Steve the old Ford agency here is now a drug store, the overhead system is still up there
a few years back i bought several early 20's t steering wheels that had been taken off old bookbinding equipment..they were apparently installed new by the manufacturer who needed friendly handwheels on 3/4" keyed shafts..i suspect they were bought new from a parts dealer..they had original paint and had never seen sunlight.i'm sure that t steering wheels ended up in the strangest places....
The picture said is from the "lumber curing Department" can any one tell me what they were making
Maybe steering wheels?....
Wooden legs. Honestly!
A lot of those shops had large engines to run their machinery.
Talk about opening this thread on an interesting day. Today is the 83rd anniversary of the great Onaway Wood Rim company fire in Onaway, Michigan.
The handwheels in this photo are not Model T wheels since the spiders in the foreground have two screws at each spoke. Also the rim itself on others appears to have an extra character line.
Back to Onaway.... In 1926, a blower belt on what was thought to be a fireproof factory slipped and the friction ignited sawdust. The resulting fire burned down most of the rim factory and the town went in decline from that point. I have an early catalog showing their products ranging from auto steering wheels to bicycle wheels, to boat wheels. With the fire and invention of molded steering wheels, the town was doomed. They also had a branch in France that I assumed declined with the lack of demand.
I have an Onaway fatman wheel on my wife's touring. I also have a cast aluminum script that used to be fastened on top of license plates that says "Onaway Steers the World". I never was told that Onaway sold wood rims directly to Ford, but they apppeared in aftermarket and also on many fine autos. Their design was unique in that the wheel assembly was completely glued and the only metal part was the center hub.
My Uncle was one of several brothers who ran a marine manufacturing business on the western shore of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The extensive shop was all run with an overhead pully system [ which is still there ] powered by one of the diesel engines they manufactured. [ also still there ] I was in the shop often during summer visits and can clearly recall the noise associated with the belts an machinery they ran. Each machine had a large lever which would engage the idler pulley to tighten or loosen the belt tension so the machine would operate. Being a youngster, I did not completely understand the system until later years. I also recall the workmen dressed in shirts and many with bow ties and vests with sleeves rolled up held with big rubber bands. The shop is still there, still working but now with individually powered cnc machines. Same family still runs it but in the 4th or 5th generation.
I've also had the pleasure of working with belt driven machinery from a lineshaft. I once inquired why none of the machines were bolted to the floor. The gent managing the shop told me he would rather a wrapped belt try to pull the machine off the floor than have the lineshafts pull down on the workers. We also had cardboard doughnuts that kept the lineshafts clean. They weren't there to catch the bearing drippings, they kept the shafts shiny so that fallen belts couldn't get enough friction to wrap up and start pulling.
At the Berry Brothers bolt works here in Columbus they had the overhead drive shaft. The clutch was two steel discs , one flat on the face and the other was studded with Elm wood cylinders about 2 inches in diamiter and 4 inches long held in place by set screws. They always had a barrel full of these soaking in linseed oil for replacments. I have one of these cylinders and it's hard as a rock. Elm was used as it is almost impossible to split. Was also used for wagon wheel hubs. Ever try to split Elm for fire wood? You'll learn some new cuss words you didn't use on the T. John
I agree, wooden legs
One light fixture on the ceiling - no lightbulb in it. Another light dangling from a shelf. I wonder how many thumbs were lost making artificial legs !!!
A small town of my youth (Bay City, Texas) had two blacksmith shops, one was pretty small, the other covered almost a city block. Both were powered by the overhead shafts and belts, I am pretty sure the larger shop may have been steam powered, just don't remember. Back then plow points were a big deal, I have taken a whole pickup load of points in on a Friday and picked them up on a Monday, they used trip hammers to sharpen. Both shops could flat do anything, and never said no. They also were the babbitt people, and did all the babbitt work for T's, A's, wind mills and the like. Interesting places, both of them, I wish we still had places like that. I bought a .22 rifle from the small place in 1940, I am pretty sure they made it, I still have it.
Grady,I have never seen or heard of anyone ever sharpning/hammering plow points,but people still do sharpen bean knives by hammering them?? Bud.
John, Detroit supposedly still has a few elm water mains buried in the older parts of the city. The Detroit Historical Museum has displayed chunks of them over the years.
Come to Abilene, Texas where you can see a machine shop still operating with a 30's, Fairbanks Morse 10 hp electric motor driving belts attached to 7 machines. Originally, the shop was opened in Gorman, Texas in the 20's and powered by a model T driving the machines with a rear hub spool-with belts-going through the wall, to the machines. Grandson told me tonite at car club meeting that his grandfather would leave the T hooked up if weather was good, and walk home. If car was needed, he would put wheel back on and drive home. After the move to Abilene, the FM was installed and has never been re-built.There are three generations still carrying on the tradition. Also told me the shafts are all on babbit bearings. Neat place, and they do good work.
The Foothills Model T Ford Club 2007 and 2008 Fall Colours Tour was to the Museum of Making west of Calgary.(http://www3.museumofmaking.org/dbtw-wpd/machine.htm) The owner is a friend of Les Schubert. When we arrived we parked our cars on a grassy area and entered a uniquely restored log house where the owner opened a couple of closet doors revealing concrete stairs leading to what we thought was the basement. We soon realized that under the area where we parked was a huge underground labyrinth. I recall turning a corner in one of the basement rooms and seeing a long oak lined tunnel leading to the museum.
More to follow in the next post.
Now the reason for posting this is that the machines in the museum are powered an overhead belt an pulley system driven by a large stationary steam engine.
Really nice photographs Robb.
Mr. DeLong, sorry I threw you a curve, I thought everybody knew about sharpening plow points and etc. They just heated them up in their forge and beat them back sharp with what I call a trip hammer, some used just an anvil and a hammer. A dear departed friend I farmed rice with eons ago lost the use of his right hand with freshly sharpened points, he sliced all the fingers almost off, they sewed them back stiff, still had fingers but couldn't do much with them, these points were razor sharp. The last big blades I had sharpened were done on an anvil with a hammer, these were off an 8' Bush Hog mower I used to mow pastures, it would lop off sprouts that were 2" or 3" and never look back. An interesting, to me, side note is that I could not get anyone to do this later on, so I did it myself. They all quoted some unknown OSHA rule against it. I knew about OSHA, and never saw a rule against it, but who knows, your tax dollars at work.